The logo of 2016 ASEAN (Source: VNA)
Vientian (VNA) - Laos is making last-minute preparations as it looks to take on the post of the Chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 2016, said Phongsavanh Sisoulath, Director General of the Lao Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ ASEAN Department .

During his interview granted to Vietnam News Agency correspondents, the Lao official said his country established 13 National Committee sub-committees in charge of various works. These are managed directly by Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Thongloun Sisoulith, and steered by Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong.

Laos completed works related to human resources training in English, negotiation experience and skills, translation and interpretation, and document and speech preparation, he stated, adding that other works such as preparing infrastructure facilities and ensuring security were also paid due attention.

He affirmed that with his country’s accumulated experiences, and support provided by other ASEAN member nations and foreign countries, Laos is ready to assume the ASEAN Chair in 2016.

Talking about Laos’ policies as the country undertaking the position, the Laos official said his country will focus on promoting cooperation in eight fields within the group’s three key pillars.

The country will work hard to realise the ASEAN Vision, while taking measures to boost connections within ASEAN in order to roll back poverty and narrow the development gap among the bloc’s member countries, Phongsavanh said.

Laos will concentrate on promoting the development of small and medium-sized enterprises and the tourism sector, while facilitating trade and investment links and enhancing relations among ASEAN member countries.

Laos is also interested in how to create more jobs for women, and measures to preserve and uphold ASEAN’s cultural heritage, he stressed.

According to the official, 2016 holds special significance in the implementation of the ASEAN Vision by 2025.

For this reason, Laos decided to use the slogan “Turning Vision into Reality for a Dynamic ASEAN Community” for ASEAN in 2016.

The official ASEAN 2016 website can be found at www.ASEAN2016.gov.la-VNA